Steinbrüchel – Basis – CD – ROOM 40


I must confess that I am (unashamedly) a major fan of Steinbrüchel, having been around for several years now with a steady stream of releases, his reputation and command of the medium, see him rising to pole position as one of the masters of minimalist electronica in the world today. This, his second release for Room 40, following on from Opaque, sees well established formulas being refined, reconfigured and re-invented.

Previous works based on pin-drop minimalism, generally suspended over rich, resonant layerings have been the order of the day, but Basis sees him reworking material by other artists, to create a fuller, warmer sound, more alive, more spacious.

The INTERLUDE pieces, 1- 4 are based on Happiness Will Befall, by Room 40’s Lawrence English. The liner notes suggest that this was originally a guitar piece, yet subjected to Steinbrüchel’s processing, sounds like a glockenspiel..these are evanescent pieces, that are at once distilled and reduced into subtle dreamscapes, underpinned with a sustained tonal wash..THESE 1 & 2 are re-worked from guitar pieces by Ben Frost..THESE 1 opens with crackling, static layerings – a visceral blanket that at first appears sparse, but on subsequent listens, reveals a wealth of activity compressed into a singular frequency range, much like Bernhard Gunther’s Monochrome White release on L-NE. This slowly billows, and dissipates, and as it unfolds, a sedate guitar refrain is heard low in the mix, endlessly looping and hypnotic. FALTER is based on piano pieces by Bernd Schurer, once again, subjected to Steinbr} chel’s manipulation, appears more like an organ or a keyboard. This is an evenly paced, gaseous soundscape, peppered, by degrees with shards of overlapping keyboard, a gentle, insistent chorus that is gently enveloped with reverb, to engender a vaporous, swirling mass, that gradually and entropically decays and condenses to a singular, digital tone.

Basis is arguably one of Steinbrüchel’s more accessible recordings of the last few years, and is a worthy addition to the Room 40 roster. It stands as testament to his widening repertoire, and reaffirms a total mastery of restraint and subtlety.. absolutely essential. BGN


About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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